For the giant of Africa, Nigeria to continue to function as a nation-state and play its role in the comity of nations, urgent step should be taken towards finding a quick end to its current economic recession.
If this is not done, the economy could slide into depression.
This formed part of the conclusions drawn Thursday by Africa’s richest man and business mogul, Aliko Dangote, and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
“Since oil prices are unlikely to rebound any time soon, it would not be an exaggeration to assert that the very existence of our country is now hinged on the rapid diversification of our economy, especially in the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors, otherwise, the worst scenario will play itself out” Dangote stated.
Dangote, who made the remarks while speaking at the 44th annual general meeting of MAN, in Abuja stated that in the face of economic recession confronting Nigeria, it needs to urgently develop other income portals as against depending solely on crude oil exports.
He said government should also quickly restore confidence in the economy by beefing up its external reserves while making concerted efforts to improve the overall business climate, which has suffered some down time in recent times.
According to him, the manufacturing sector contracted by -2.9 per cent in 2015 as against growth rates of 21.8 per cent and 14.7 per cent in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
To him, the aggregate manufacturing jobs created in 2014 and 2015 were 20,535 jobs as against 53,340 jobs created in the sector in 2013 alone.
“Next is fiscal diversification to shore up the contribution of non-oil revenue to total government revenue by increasing tax receipts. The emphasis should, however, be on expanding the tax base rather than increasing the tax rate,” he told the gathering.
Reacting to the government claim that it is working on improving the patronage of locally made goods and making access to finance for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) easier, MAN and the other organised private sector groups said this is yet to be seen in the day to day business.
They concluded that if the government fails to find urgent solution to high interest rate and scarcity of the dollar, the economy may face depression.
By Emma Eke….
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